Violence against women

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_why do I care about violence against women?

...still work in progress...

Some key facts, published by the ▶▶World Health Organization:

◼️ The United Nations defines violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."
★ Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence – is a major public health problem and a violation of women's human rights.
★ Estimates published by WHO indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
★ Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (27%) of women aged 15-49 years who have been in a relationship report that they have been subjected to some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.
★ Violence can negatively affect women’s physical, mental, sexual, and reproductive health, and may increase the risk of acquiring HIV in some settings.
★ Violence against women is preventable. The health sector has an important role to play to provide comprehensive health care to women subjected to violence, and as an entry point for referring women to other support services they may need.

My need to work on this topic didn't start with the statistics consideration, though. You get passion like this to express your reflections and raise conversations usually after having personal experience with the problem. It makes it possible for you to know how it feels, to sympathise, to be angry, and to talk about it. To support the process of raising the public awareness. To support the process of finding solutions - for prevention and for care.

It makes it your battle, too.

_projects and works

_лека телесна повреда // minor injury // 2023

minor injury // digital illustration, 2023

A man assaulted an 18-year-old Bulgarian girl: he had her arms, legs and chest cut with a paper cutter, her nose broken, and all her hair cut with a clipper. He used to be her intimate partner. The doctors made 400 stitches on around 20 deep wounds. The judge set the man free because what he did was ruled as a “minor injury” by her [yes, the judge was a woman].

People react to things they can really imagine, see, understand. Imagine the doctors who have made 400 stitches. I wanted to draw each one of them, slowly, to comprehend how much it was. I was not afraid to overexpose the way the cuts and stitches are illustrated, because this should initiate shock. A big one.

We do not tend to react so strongly to the women's killings. The victim is gone, her pain is gone. We know we cannot do anything anymore and she becomes just another number in the statistics. Why did this case cause much more outrage than the many femicides happening earlier? Was it the explicit cruelty of the act that became so evident? Was it that we know that the 18-year-old young woman would have to live with this memory for the rest of her life?

The way we react to something like this shows us in what kind of society we are living. The way the institutions that are responsible for finding ways to prevent such acts from happening in the future react shows us what kind of future awaits us. Our future does not look very bright. Until we change something.

// digital illustration // rotterdam, 2023 // license: CC4.0 - use it as you wish by giving appropriate credit
// remember to be mindful to her trauma and shock when talking about this subject and sharing content
// download from here [square] & here [full frame]

★ references & further reads:
▶▶ Bulgarian Woman Whose Domestic Abuse Sparked Protests, Legislation Thanks Nation // Radio Free Europe // 2023
▶▶ Knife Attack on Woman Sparks Anti-Violence Protests Across Bulgaria // Balkan Insight // 2023

_work with EMPROVE foundation // 2018 ~ today

dancing Early Bird [Ранобудна], 2023
the cover of EMPROVE annual report 2022 // digital illustration, 2023

My work with Olga Mineva and ▶▶ EMPROVE foundation started in 2018. We met at a visual facilitation workshop I gave in Sofia and she approached me for a potential collaboration. Since our first project together [a visual summary of the Bulgarian EMPROVE Round Table for Networking and Improvement of the support for domestic violence survivors], we have had a long and lovely partnership. By having a look at what I've done for EMPROVE's projects since then, you can easily see the changes in the way I illustrate.

The main challenge in our visual work for this project is to be able to address such a sensitive and painful topic and still give positive sensation. What we strive for is hope. We want to empower the women who are in these difficult situations and show them we can still have a fun, colourful life after the darkness. However, all of the work is extremely serious and important - thus, the fine balance between these two ends is what we aim for.

The main goal of the EMPROVE foundation is to support women on their journey to self-discovery, confidence, empowerment and increased economic independence. The support of domestic violence survivors is one of the main directions of their work. There is a special focus on prevention - building the ability to recognise the first signs of domestic violence by organising a special series of events for key stakeholders and police staff, medical workers etc. who should be able to recognise first signs of violence, even if the potential victim hasn’t spoken about it openly – the FRA survey confirms that “only 14 % of women reported their most serious incident of intimate partner violence”.
Viber app sticker pack, commissioned by Viber Rakuten, 2021

↳ a brief timeline with some of the works on this project:

▶▶ EMPROVE's 2022 annual report // for that busy with amazing work year, I created a visual summary and designed their report in a e-book // visual summary // full report, 2023 [in Bulgarian]

▶▶ guidebooks for EMPROVE // "I can do by myself", 2021 & "A Guide To Connect With Yourself", 2023 [in Bulgarian]

▶▶ 3 works for the group exhibition Awakening Between the Lines // one of them is the beginning of the end, 2022

▶▶ creating a Viber app sticker pack with the Early Bird image // commissioned by Viber Rakuten, 2021

▶▶ creating & shaping the image of the EarlyBird (Ранобудна) - the main character of EMPROVE's visuals // 2020-2021

▶▶ EMPROVE's #EarlyBird project visualisation for their application for funds // digital illustration, 2020

▶▶ 5 illustrations of daily Huga rituals presented by Ani Hira for EMPROVE // one of them is gratefulness, digital illustrations, 2020

▶▶ visual summary of the Bulgarian EMPROVE Round Table for Networking and Improvement of the support for domestic violence survivors // digital illustration, 2018 * the beginning :-)